SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

A Historical Introduction to Fretting Fatigue


Fretting was first reported by Eden et al. in 1911 [1] who found that brown oxide debris was formed in the steel grips of their fatigue machine in contact with a steel specimen. It was not until 1927 that Tomlinson [2] conducted the first investigation of the process and designed two machines to produce small-amplitude rotational movement between two annuli in the first case, and an annulus and a flat in the second. The movement was controlled by a long lever system. Since the resultant debris on his steel specimens was the red iron oxide αFe2O3, which had arisen from chemical reaction with oxygen in the air, he coined the phrase “fretting corrosion.” He also established that the damage could be caused by movements with amplitudes as small as a few millionths of an inch (∼125 nm) and the important fact that relative movement had to occur, which he termed “slip.”

Author Information

Waterhouse, RB
University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, England
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 8–9
DOI: 10.1520/STP25804S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5214-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1448-7